A Jamestown High School graduate is one of four North Dakota State University students developing a website for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Cody Elhard is a sophomore in NDSU’s Department of Computer Sciences and is working with three other students on a project that will connect universities to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif.

“It (the website) will allow NASA to send out projects to universities,” Elhard said. The universities could have their students work on these projects and report back to NASA.

Devante Bell, Terrance Hanlon and Nicholas Snell are the students working with Elhard on the website.

Jeremy Straub, a

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

“I’ve tried doing little website things by myself. But, working on this project with a team has brought it all together for me. It has given me some real-life experiences.

CODY ELHARD, Jamestown student at North Dakota State University helping develop a website for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Straub said he has worked with James Smith, a systems engineer with JPL, on previous website projects that were similar in nature, but much more limited in scope.

“He (Smith) wanted to take this thing that has been done a few times in a microcosm and make it more available,” he said.

Straub said the goal of the project is to get more college students involved with the JPL in different ways. He said the website will allow JPL to put a wide variety of projects out for universities to consider. University officials could then decide if one of those projects would be a good fit for its students.

“It (a project) could be everything from helping them (JPL) design a mission concept,” Straub said, “to designing a part of something that could be launched on a spacecraft.”

Elhard said he and his team work together on different parts of the website, which is tentatively being called JPL Connect. He said the work he is doing now is something he would be interested in doing after he graduates.

Elhard said he is enjoying getting handson experience from working on the JPL project and working with his fellow students.

“I’ve tried doing little website things by myself,” he said. “But, working on this project with a team has brought it all together for me. It has given me some reallife experiences.”

Straub said the students working with Elhard are meeting with Smith once a week to get real-time feedback on the project. He said projects like this are important for his students and give them real-world work experience. He said students often have a lot of academic knowledge, but may not have the ability to show prospective employers they can solve real problems in a work environment.

“They (possible employers) don’t need someone to come and take quizzes,” he said.

Elhard said working with computers and developing websites are things he has always been interested in and he finds the work exciting.

“It (computer science) is always growing and is very impactful in our everyday lives,” he said.


(701) 952-8454